Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Game 66: Bluefield Blue Jays at Greeneville Astros

Listen live right here and check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

For the final game of the 2012 season, I'd like to thank everyone that helped make this summer such a great experience. Interacting with fans and readers has been one of the great thrills besides calling the games.

ASTROS (35-32)

1 D'Andre Toney CF
2 Angel Ibanez LF
3 Brian Blasik 2B
4 Michael Martinez 1B
5 Rio Ruiz 3B
6 Ernesto Genoves C
7 Jose Fernandez SS
8 Ricky Gingras DH
9 Jose Monzon RF

RHP Michael Feliz (2-3, 6.08)

BLUE JAYS (29-36)

1 Dalton Pompey CF
2 Christian Frias 2B
3 Seth Conner DH
4 Nico Taylor LF
5 Matt Dean 3B
6 Emilio Guerrero SS
7 Jacob Anderson RF
8 Jordan Leyland 1B
9 Hector Alvarez C

RHP Justin James (0-1, 6.33)


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays Pregame at 6:50. You can catch the game on local radio as well on WKEZ 1240 AM The Rooster Classic Country.

WEATHER: For the third straight day, the forecast has 82 degrees at game time

UMPIRES: PLATE: Jimmy Lott  FIELD: Andrew Freed

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Alberto Tirado made it three straight dazzling starts for the Baby Jays. After Alonzo Gonzalez and Deivy Estrada pitched six shutout innings the last two nights, the 17-year-old posted five scoreless frames to lead the Jays to a 5-2 win over the Greeneville Astros at Pioneer Park on Monday. Jays starters have put up 17 straight zeroes and Bluefield won its third straight game. Tirado (W, 2-0) retired the first eight hitters he faced and although he walked Jose Monzon, he immediately picked him off. Brian Blasik’s two-out single in the fourth inning was the only hit against the righty. He walked two and struck out three and won his second straight start. Bluefield rode a season-high three triples on offense, all three of which turned into runs. Matt Dean led off the second inning with a three-bagger and scored on Emilio Guerrero’s sacrifice fly against starter Francis Ramirez (L, 5-4). Dalton Pompey tripled in the fifth inning off of reliever Michael Dimock and came home on Seth Conner’s single. The third Jays run came in the seventh against former Bluefield pitcher Joe Musgrove. Musgrove was dealt to Houston in a ten-player trade in July and faced his former team. He pitched a perfect sixth inning, but gave up two runs before his night ended abruptly. Pompey doubled Christian Frias tripled him in. Musgrove uncorked a wild pitch and Frias scored on a close play at the plate. As Musgrove walked back to the mound, he was ejected by home plate umpire Andrew Freed. Tanner Bushue entered the game and allowed another run on Dean’s RBI single. Pompey had a game-high three hits and scored twice as he finished a homer short of the cycle. Les Williams pitched well in relief, tossing a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, but he Greeneville crept back in the game in the eighth. Two-out run-scoring singles by Brian Blasik and Michael Martinez cut the Bluefield lead to 5-2 and brought the tying run to the plate. Lefty Joe Spano came in and walked lefty Ariel Ovando, but he recovered to retire Jose Fernandez on a grounder to wriggle out of trouble. Spano (S, 1) worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to lock down his first career save. The Blue Jays secured a fourth-place finish in the East Division and avoided last place with the win. Bluefield has a chance to record their fourth consecutive win for the first time this season and their first series sweep by recording a victory on Tuesday night.

VS. THE ASTROS: Bluefield took two of three from the Astros at Bowen Field to close the month of July. The Astros won the opener 8-7 on a ninth-inning wild pitch. The Jays won the next game 8-3 before winning 5-1 behind Seth Conner’s four RBIs and Kevin Comer’s pitching. The Blue Jays and Astros split their six-game season series in 2011, with the road team taking two out of three twice.


RHP JUSTIN JAMES: Righty reliever Justin James makes his fifth straight start tonight. The Ponte Vedra, Florida native was tagged for five runs (three earned) on eight hits on Thursday against Kingsport. He did not make it through the third inning and took the loss. His last relief outing was against the Astros on July 31. He inherited a jam from starter Kevin Comer with two outs in the fifth inning facing the tying run. He retired Ernesto Genoves on a flyout then pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning with two strikeouts to notch the victory. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ave Maria University in Florida, where he was a Second Team All-Sun Conference selection as a senior after striking out 86 in 90.1 innings.

RHP MICHAEL FELIZ: 19-year-old Michael Feliz dominated the Gulf Coast League to start the season, but things have not gone as well since he made his Appy League debut in Bluefield on July 31. He has pitched to a 6.33 ERA in five starts. Although he strikes out more than one batter per inning, he has allowed more than one hit per frame and his BB/9 IP is hovering around six. The Azua, Dominican Republic native went 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 38.1 innings to earn a call-up on July 28. He was all over the GCL leaderboards, with his league-leading five wins and 38.1 innings, 1.64 ERA and 0.89 WHIP (2nd in the league), 35 strikeouts and .185 batting average against (3rd). Signed by Houston at 16 in 2010, Feliz made three starts in the Dominican Summer League that season, posting a 4.26 ERA. Last year he moved to the States and put up a 4.32 ERA in 50 innings of work in the GCL.

THE TERMINATOR: 2012 Bluefield team MVP Seth Conner is close to reaching the league qualifer (2.7 plate appearances per team game) for batting rate stats. The Rogersville, MO native needs four plate appearances today to reach the 179 PA plateau. He is batting .297, the ninth-highest among Appy Leaguers with at least 175 plate appearances. He ranks second with a .425 on base percentage and his .846 OPS is fifth. With a walk in 13.7 percent of his plate appearances, Conner ranks third in the league. At .297 (41-for-138), Conner can secure a .300 batting average for the season with a hit in either of his first two at bats tonight. If he starts 0-for-2, he or 0-for-3, he would need two hits to get over the .300 mark.

STUCK ON SINGLE DIGITS: Nico Taylor went -for-3 with a walk last night to end his hitting streak at nine games. It is his longest of the season and it’s tied for the longest by a Blue Jays this season. Christian Lopes also had a nine-gamer from July 29 to August 10. Hailing from McKinney, Texas, Taylor was 13-for-33 (.394) during the run.

WELL DESERVED: Two more Baby Jays earned call-ups to Short Season-A Vancouver. Left-hander Griffin Murphy and center fielder D.J. Davis were sent up to the Northwest League to help the Canadians in their playoff push. Murphy posted a 1.70 ERA in 37 innings, the second-lowest mark by any Appy Leaguer with at least 30 IP (Teammate Brandon Dorsett is third at 1.71). Murphy did not allow an earned run for 25.2 innings between July 11 and August 24. Davis, the 17th-overall first-round pick in June’s draft, put up a .340/.415./.511 slash line and stole six bases in 12 games for Bluefield. Both players are in Yakima for the final five games of the season as defending-champ Vancouver is a half-game ahead of Eugene for the final playoff spot.

PLAYOFF MATCHUPS ARE SET: All four Appalachian League playoff berths have been clinched and the semifinal pairings are set. The Burlington Royals (40-25) have won the East Division and the Elizabethton Twins (42-22) have won the West. The Wild Cards are the Danville Braves (36-27) in the East and the two-time defending champion Johnson City Cardinals (38-28) in the West. Burlington will play Johnson City and Danville will play Elizabethton. There will be two best-of-three sets starting on Wednesday, with the winners playing another best-of-three for the Appy League championship. The Wild Card will host the other division’s champion in game one before the division winner hosts the second and third games (if necessary). Burlington, the only new playoff team from last season, makes their first trip since 2010, when they were swept 2-0 by the Cardinals in the semis. Burlington and Johnson City also squared off in the 1987 Championship Series, when the Burlington Indians beat Ray Lankford and the Cards. Elizabethton and Danville have played for the title four times. Justin Morneau and the Twins beat Adam Wainwright’s Braves in 2000. The Twins won again in 2003 behind Denard Span and again in 2005 beating Elvis Andrus. Danville got revenge in 2009 and won the fourth matchup.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-28

Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

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